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Asthma and schools: Simple steps help flag when a child’s asthma is getting out of control

7th September 2018

Heather Hudson, Hounslow School Nurse, shares how a simple intervention of monitoring use of asthma medication at school has helped promote preventative measures and achieve better asthma care management.

“Last  September, we  started an asthma audit at Strand on the Green Junior and Strand on the Green Infant School.

In the first couple of weeks of the new school year, my colleague and I visited Strand Juniors and helped the welfare officer contact the parents of some of the children with asthma. In some cases, the parents had told the school their child was asthmatic but hadn’t given the school an inhaler.

The parents were asked to make sure an inhaler was in the school and that it was in date. We used the opportunity to remind the parents to take the child for regular asthma check-ups with their GP or practice nurse. We emphasised  the importance of their child cleaning their teeth or rinsing their mouth after using the preventative inhaler at home and about the importance of using a spacer device.

Initially, I collected a weekly record of which children attended the medical room to use their inhalers. As the term got busier  the junior school sent me a weekly record. I also initially collected the asthma audit forms from the infants and nursery, and the infants would inform me if a child attended the medical room on three or more occasions in a week to use their inhaler.

The school now understands how to spot if a child’s asthma has slipped out of control. They understand that if a child visits the media room to use their inhaler on three or more occasions in a week that there is a problem and they know how important it is that the child’s family is contacted so they can quickly take action to arrange preventative medication.

Since we started the audits there have only been four children in the junior school who have been to the medical room and used their inhaler three times or more in a week. In these cases, the parents were contacted by the school nurse and asked to take their child to the GP to have a preventer inhaler prescribed. The infant school has only had one child whose parent needed to be contacted and given advice.

Strand on the Green Junior School also had asthma training from the Hounslow School nurses in November 2017.

As a result of this simple audit the school has become an active participant in promoting preventative asthma approached. They are aware of the importance of informing the parent or carer when their child presents in the medical room to use their reliever inhaler on three or more occasions and understand this is a sign that the child’s asthma is not under control.

Hounslow will be reviewing the audit and looking at how, with guidance from Healthy London Partnership, this good practice can be shared with the rest of the primary schools in the borough.”

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